Ah, feedback. If you’re a content creator, you are likely familiar with this necessary hurdle you must clear before you can submit for final approval — requesting feedback on your project.
In a professional setting, it’s rare to create content that doesn’t involve stakeholders. Whether or not you are the subject matter expert (SME), there are likely others within your organization, in addition to yourself, who will have a vested interest in what you’re creating. How involved they are will probably depend on where the content will be published, the format (video, blog post, web page, etc.), and it’s shelf-life.
Regardless of the purpose of the content and the audience it’s designed to target, it’s always a good idea to get peer feedback on anything public-facing. If you’ve been through this process before, you know that often, it becomes more complicated than it needs to be. Good news! We’ve put together a list of best practices for the feedback loop, so you can avoid the common pitfalls known to slow down the project delivery process. Let’s dive in!
Tip #1: Limit the number of reviewers
Everyone has an opinion. In order to keep your project timeline on track, and get helpful feedback, it’s a good idea to limit the number of people that you ask to review your work. This will allow you to focus your attention and make the revision process efficient, and help you avoid unnecessary twists and turns in your feedback loop.
If you were to request feedback from an entire department, things would get chaotic very quickly. Opening the floodgates can result in a large number of conflicting opinions coming from an audience, each evaluating through their own uniquely-motivated lens. If you’d like buy-in on a project from a larger group, it may be more appropriate to include additional people during a brainstorm process in advance, as opposed to during the content review.
Tip #2: Give each reviewer specific instructions
Similar to limiting the number of reviewers, it’s also a good idea to give each reviewer something specific to pay attention to and provide feedback about. This is helpful in two ways:
1. It ensures all aspects of the content gets reviewed
2. It keeps the reviewers on track
For example, you might assign someone to focus specifically on the overall flow of the video, and how the portions fit together. You might assign someone else to focus on more technical aspects, such as the audio quality, or issues with color.
Tip #3: Don’t be afraid to send a first draft (even though it won’t be perfect)
Perfect never arrives. This is especially true when dealing with something subjective, which is never black and white. But again, in the interest of keeping your project timeline on track, you need to get something out the door so that you can iterate on it. So don’t stress out about your first draft being perfect — understand that it won’t be, and that’s ok!
Tip #4: Find reviewers that you can trust to give you honest feedback
In order to produce the best final product, it’s crucial that you receive honest feedback. It may be tempting to take the easy route, and ping those colleagues that always tell you, “everything looks great, there’s nothing I’d change!”…but don’t do that. It would be a disservice to everyone involved in the process, and to the project itself.
Instead, seek out those people who you know will be honest, and offer up valid constructive criticism. These folks are the ones who will push you to create great content and help you grow professionally. This also ensures that your feedback loop is efficient. If meaningful feedback is not sought or incorporated into your project, reputations are at risk, and it may affect the level of project ownership and trust made available by stakeholders in the future.
Tip #5: Use a tool designed to help with the review process
Using the right tool for the job is extremely important if you wish to execute the project in an efficient manner. When it comes to content reviews, many people tend to rely on a process that is quite manual, making the feedback loop frustrating and time consuming for both those providing feedback, and for the creator who needs to incorporate it. Providing feedback for videos is an especially daunting task, which for most people involves noting time stamps, and describing what they’d like to see altered by writing lengthy descriptions.
However, using a tool that is specifically built for this process can save you time and headaches. At TechSmith, we use Video Review. With the program, you can assign your reviewers a deadline, establishing up front when the feedback is expected so that the project is able to keep moving along.
Reviewers can leave comments within the program, as opposed to drafting an email. And for videos, a timestamp with a marker is automatically generated, allowing the creator to jump right too the area that needs attention. The reply option allows for conversation with context, and comments can be marked resolved as they’re implemented.
Plus, the good news is that Video Review is not just for videos. You can upload documents as well, and with the handy Draw option, you can add a box around a section, an arrow, or use the freehand pen tool to show exactly what you mean.
There you have it! Hopefully you’ve found these tips helpful to simplify the feedback process, whether you’re on the creator or reviewer side. And, if you’re interested in learning more about tools to help with the process, we’d recommend checking out TechSmith Video Review — get started with your free trial today.